Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A spot of Lego

Since it's been a while since we had a Lego post here, I thought it was a good time to share a couple of Calum's latest creations.
Firstly, some quick background info for the first one.
Last week Calum's class spent every day up at the castle filming for an educational DVD. Remember last year James' class did the same project about the great hall of the castle?
Well Calum's class have been working on a DVD about the Royal Appartments, with the story focussed around Mary Queen of Scots just before her son James VI was born. Calum had two parts - that of one of the lords who was around when Mary's friend David Rizzio was murdered, and his main part of the Turnbrochie. Now, who knows what a turnbrochie is? Answer tomorrow!
ANYWAY, Calum came home from filming one day last week and decided to make a Lego version of the camera man, sound man and the girl who was helping them. He took them in to show the crew, who loved them so much that they took a wee film of the Lego figures!
The second of his LEGO projects this week was this calendar he made at Kids Club at church. A Lego man with a Biblical text - now that's a bit unique!

Doesn't the cameraman look like George Lucas?!

You may also have noticed that I used these photos as a chance to play about with the photo editing on my new phone :-)

Monday, 30 January 2012

Make it Monday - Mobile Phone Cover/Protector

There was (and still is) great excitement here last week when I took delivery of a new mobile phone.
Since the best contracts tend to all be 24 months long, I researched which phone to get more thoroughly than I have done in the past. I didn't want to be stuck with a phone I wasn't happy with.
Once I had decided on the phone I then looked around for the best deal on it. I was sure I had found it, but did a quick check with my technically and financially savvy brother, who of course managed to find me an even better deal (£7 a month cheaper than the one I found, which over 24 months is quite a bit!)
I love my phone. I know it's a good one as it's the newer model of my aforementioned technically savvy brother's. It does pretty much everything except wash the dishes for me!
The boys love it just as much. In fact there are more little boy's apps on it now than there are of mine - quite a few Lego ones!
The point to this story is, that having a phone I actually want to look after properly meant that I needed a cover to protect the lovely big touch screen.
And every self respecting phone needs a crocheted cover, don't you think?
I rustled this one up over the weekend. All it is, is a crocheted rectangle folded up and sewn up the sides. With a little scalloped edge to the flap. And made to measure my phone so it's all nice and snug.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Some more Piano Guys

No I'm not taking commission from them!

They just have so many wonderful arrangements of music that it seems wrong not to to share them!

I love this one, not only because of the awe-inspiring video with the time lapse night sky, or because it is based on Alasdair's favourite song, but also because it reminds me of the very first piece of music I studied at music college.

Twinkle, twinkle?

Actually it was the Mozart Theme and Variations that starts off with the melody of Twinkle Twinkle (which is actually the melody of a French folk song) that I was learning, but it caused great amusement among my friends when they would ask what piano music I was learning and I would start playing them this.

So first, the beautiful version by the Piano Guys

When I started playing this clip, Alasdair immediately said 'Teenkle teenkle ittle dar' and then proceed to sing it over and over as I listened to the following clip, which is Mozart's offering. 

Incidentally, my favourite variation is no VIII, the minor one. But then, from what I have already revealed about my musical tastes (remember Chopin?) this may not come as too much of a surprise to you all!

I might have to dust down the old Mozart book later on!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A celebration of all things Scottish

Tonight is officially Burns' night but my husband's sister held her annual, and much looked forward to, Burns' Supper on Saturday.

Hers is not so much a celebration of the man and his works (although it always contains a rendition of his Ode to a Haggis as well as a few of his songs) but more of an excuse to don our kilts, enjoy some good food and get together to enjoy all that we do about being Scottish really!

At a traditional Burns' Supper the haggis is usually piped in. Since we have no piper, but one in training, it was 'chantered' in instead!

The man on the right was waiting to recite Burns' 'Ode to a Haggis'.

Here is the delight itself, along with the obligatory neeps and tatties.

I should add that haggis is so popular in our house that we don't just eat it on Burn's night as some people do, but have it at least once a month!

After the haggis it was time for the cakes!

(Mine are the chocolate and cherry one in the middle and the swiss roll at the front)

The only two photos I have of me on the night are the ones above and below!

You get to appreciate my lovely kilt though! The tartan is a Macleod one (my mother's maiden name) and the kilt-pin you can just see in the top photo belonged to my dad's mum.

Monster socks and a kermit t-shirt finish off a little boys' kilt so well, don't you think? :0)

The bigger boys set their kilts off nicely with their Scotland football strips, and are joined in this photo by one of the other boys who were at the Supper.

And, no a boy's kilt is not supposed to be quite as far above the knee as David's is! He's just taken a bit of a growth spurt!

After all the food, it is time for the music to start.

Calum kicked things off with a couple of Gaelic tunes on his fiddle, and then we all had a good sing song of traditional Scottish songs - most of which seem to be about death, bleakness, slaughter etc but then I guess that is our history!

There were some cheerier offerings too, like the popular Mairi's Wedding, Scotland the Brave and Wild Purple Heather.

Then the whole evening ended with a Scottish quiz. My team was cruelly beaten by one point, but since my oldest two boys were in that team I didn't mind so much!

Instead of finishing off with some Gaelic tonight, let's have a bit of Scots instead. The first verse of Ode to a Haggis.

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftan o’ the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm

If you want to read the rest (and it was all recited by memory by the man at our Supper) you can find it here.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Friday Fun - A Star Wars Tune

I don't think I need to say much about the following clip.

It's pretty awesome.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Recipe of the Week - Quick and Easy Pizza

This recipe is so straightforward that even a 5 (now 6) year old can make it.

Another bonus is that it doesn't have a yeast bread base but a scone base, and so doesn't need to be started a few hours before you want to eat.

Whenever we have pizza I have two helpers in the kitchen - Calum makes up a wheat and dairy free batch of dough and David does the normal batch. They both love the part with rubbing the butter/margarine into the flour.

Our quick and easy method for making the pizza sauce is to buy cheap and cheerful basic pasta sauce (obviously double check to make sure it is allergy free), then thicken it a little with some tomato puree. Super tasty, super quick and super cheap!

The quantities below are for an individual sized pizza. Sometimes we make a separate one each, other times we triple or quadruple the recipe and make one big pizza. Whichever you fancy, although I wouldn't recommend you make it more than quadrupled or you may end up with an unevenly cooked base where the middle remains too doughy.

You will need:

4oz self raising flour (or wheat free self raising flour)
2oz butter (or dairy free margarine)
enough milk (or soya/rice milk) to bring the mixture together as a dough.

You will also need your own selection of toppings. 
Our favourites (although not all on the same pizza!) are tuna, peppers, pepperoni, red onion, beans (!).

And of course a good few handfuls of grated cheese for the top.

For our allergy free pizzas we don't add soya cheese, as to be honest it is pretty gross! The pizzas don't seem any the worse for the lack of it. If you can stomach soya cheese, then by all means add it to yours!


~Either use your fingertips to rub the butter/margarine into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs or alternatively you could put them both into a food processor and blitz, which is quicker (and cleaner!) but less fun if your kiddies are helping.
~Add enough milk a little at a time and mix together until you have a nice dough.
~Flour your surface and roll out the dough until it is about 1cm thick.
~Put it on a flat baking tray and cover with your pizza sauce.
~Add your choice of toppings, finishing with the cheese.
~Bake at 180C for about 15-20 minutes, until your edges are nicely crisp and golden. 

These are two individual sized wheat and dairy free pizzas waiting to go into the oven. One with tuna and the other with pepperoni.

And this is a larger sized, allergy packed version, before cooking........

...........and after.

I know the pizzas above aren't the prettiest in the world, but they were made entirely by a 9 year old and a 6 year old, and they tasted delicious!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Happy Birthday James

Today my oldest boy turned 12.

I always feel that I should qualify this by stating that I was a young first time mum!

The artsy crafty birthday boy wanted and art chest for his birthday, as well as a selection of  WWII Airfix models.

Last year you may remember I posted the recipe for the Homemade Steak Pie that we had for his birthday dinner. It still remains his favourite dish and so it was on the menu tonight.

His request for the cake was a Captain America themed one, of course, so I took inspiration from the red, white and Blue colour scheme, as well as the star logo.

The Pie..........

The cake............

The band of brothers.............

The presents..................

Happy Birthday handsome boy ♥

Monday, 16 January 2012

Make it Monday


I have a whole new craft I've been trying out this week that I was excited to share with you all, but I left taking the photos until it was too late and it just doesn't show up as well without natural light - which is in pretty short supply in January in Scotland!

Anyway, I'll just keep that one hanging on there to tease you all until next week, and share another of my current projects tonight.

If you are wanting to share in Make it Monday, this one goes to show that I love seeing works in progress too, as that's what I have here.

It's the front of what will be a rather patriotic cushion!

Union Jacks are set to be on everything this year, what with it being the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

All I need to do is add the envelope style back and then blanket stitch round the whole of the outside edge.

So, what's everyone else been making this week?

Friday, 13 January 2012

Things I'm loving this week....


For the first 'Thing's I'm loving' post of 2012, it seems appropriate to focus on the main things I'm loving every single week.

That is, the housefulofboys.

Here they are snuggling up with Auntie Anna's dog at Granny & Grandad's house on New Year's Day

No2 son (age 9) is a huge animal lover. He would love to be a vet when he is older. He's certainly smart enough for it anyway. 

No4 son (age 2) loves to potter around. He is everyone's delight.

He still suffers badly from his eczema, still waking up at least once or twice a night itching, but who couldn't love this little munchkin?!

(This is a very good day for the eczema on his face)

No3 son (age 6) remains the daredevil, sports lover, 'I-must-do-it-bigger-better-faster' boy.

But he has a lovely sweet cuddly side too.

That long-suffering dog!

No1 son (age 12 next week. Wait, 12? How did that happen?!) is the arty, inventive boy. He has developed an interest in baking and this is the chocolate cake he made last week.

He and his cousin, who he ranks as his best friend, enjoyed two slices each!

I had to snap this quick before it disappeared!

And of course, let's not forget their daddy, my handsome, hard-working, and full of fun other-half.

♥    ♥    ♥